All in Stitches

Sam Jacobsen, Reporter

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During the 2013/14 school year Connie Carlson of CHS partnered with Anne DiPardo (a professor of education at CU Boulder), and together they applied for a grant to help better stitch together the community.  The grant– a $500 art grant– was open to applications from many different schools, but only a select few would be awarded it.  CHS was one of those select schools.  This was due to the original, and sensational idea that Carlson and Dipardo had conceived.  What was that idea?  Simply, to make a quilt.

But, this simplistic machination was riddled with a myriad of anomalous genius.  The quilt would be made up of bits of writing the freshman class of the 2013/14 year had conceived– these bits of writing could be anything that the student felt resonated with what community meant to them.  These stanzas, and paragraphs, and words would then be refined to make the sap of the tree of a project Carleson and DiPardo had planned.  The words of the students would be woven into cloth by calligraphy artists, and strung together to make a beautiful quilt.

Not only would this be a beautiful, and artistic way to show teamwork within the community, but it would also “offer students the opportunity to speak to the community.”  Teens are often viewed as all being pinnacling signs that utter naivety runs feveriously through the veins of our society, and they are often seen as simply not caring.  So when the city council heard of an idea involving teens speaking up about what community meant to them, they fell in love.  And thus, $500 to put towards the creation of this “community quilt” was awarded to CHS.

“We had worked together in the past,” Carlson stated “so we already knew we worked well together as a team.”  Hence, when it came time to proceed with the preconceived proposal, things went quite smoothly.

Anne DiPardo came into visit with the freshman class of the year to discuss the quilt.  Workers from the community (i.e. policemen, and school board members) graciously bequeathed the freshmen with their time in order to hold open discussions concerning what “community” meant.  And when the time came for students to give a glimpse into their burgeoning minds by writing down their thoughts, a slurry of different expressional mediums were used.  Some students drew pictures; others wrote poems; others still wrote inspirational aphorisms.

The quilt was assembled and (with the aid of a few freshmen whom had volunteered) was presented to the city council.  It was sonsational; the city council adored it.  “I felt proud.” Carlson stated.  And, that pride was well earned.  The quilt remained on display at the city hall for quite some time, and now it stands hanging in the Lafayette public library in all of its splendour as reminder of the tight-knit bonds of the community and the freshman class of 2013/14.

At first, many freshman students thought the quilt was “a poor waste of money” and downright “stupid.”  But, that isn’t a sentiment commonly held by many of the same people this year.  This shift in opinions was so immense that the (now sophomore) class decided to head back into the quilt makers realm.

In a late december accident, student Riley Meree was badly injured.  In response to this DiPardo was called on by Mrs. Smith’s fourth period class to create a “get-well” quilt for Meree out of drawings and inspirational quotes they had constructed.  On January 29th the quilt was presented to Meree by the class.  The quilt was received with bountiful ardor.  The fact that students not only showed so much compassion towards another student, but that they’d seek out a project that most of them had shown distaste for the year before in order to aid that student, is astounding.

Yes, these quilts have made a pretty big impact at CHS.  Carlson stated that her junior advisory class would be making quilts riddled with happy thoughts to deliver to the Lafayette city police and fire station.  These quilts are to be used to help traumatized children.

“The idea is to connect the generations,” Carlson said.  By having a small child, who has been through something troubling, see that some of the older kids in town care about him/her, a web is formed binding the two generations in a sort of pseudo friendship.  And, when it comes to community, nothing is more important than reminding people that everyones in this together.

Carlson announced that she and DiPardo would continue to work together to produce more of the “community quilts” and to get more quilts circulated into police cars and firetruck around the town.       

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